Tag Archives: Chuckit! Whistler

Chloë Gets Wet in the Woods

Chloë’s favorite brand

It’s getting on toward mid-October already, but it still feels like Indian Summer to me, bright and clear in the afternoons and turning quickly crisp when the sun dips down. Perfect weather for chasing after my whistling balls. Last week I knocked a blue one over a bluff in the park that was so steep that Mike and Heather wouldn’t let me chase down the cliff after it. I knew where it was, too, but getting to it would have posed some problems, I admit, and it was a long, long way down. Luckily, Mike knew where to find another ball in a box in the garage, an orange one at that.


I’ve also been gnawing away at two green racquet balls that my pal Charlie brought along last weekend when we drove out to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail for a Sunday hike. We walked almost two hours, an hour and a half in glorious fall weather and the last half hour in a sudden, unexpected and torrential downpour.  Huge by Washington standards, Central New York thunderstorm-level heavy but cold and piercing, including some hail. Charlie and Heather had been throwing for me when the deluge began, even as parts of the sky remained blue and the forest floor was flooded with sunshine. Mike kept saying the rain was going to stop any second, but it was still pouring when we finally reached the car and hopped in.

Since everyone was soaking wet, they scrapped their plans for dining on the way home and headed back to the city for towels, dry clothes and pizza. I got extra cheese on my own dinner and later licked plates when they were done with the pizza. All in all, another great Sunday, despite the rain.

Chloë Screws Up Her Training

Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Boot Camp with Heather had been going so well. When we arrived for a two-week stay at my Cascade foothills Getaway, she voiced her amazement at how well I was complying with all of her increasingly difficult commands. On more than one occasion, I heard her tell Mike that I was doing “fantastic.” That was her word, not mine.

And then things got a bit out of hand.  I got out there in the country with my pal Pumpkin and the sweet spring grass and lots of wild smells, and I just lost control. On four straight days, Heather let me off my leash and I ran away from her, at four different locations for four different reasons. She would call me back, and sometimes I would even stop and look at her.  And run.

Shooting range

The first time I was chasing the orange ball that Mike had tossed along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, and it took a bad hop and flew over the embankment right into the local gun club’s shooting range.  When I skidded down after it, I caught my leash on a bush, and both I and the ball needed assistance. But as Heather slid down to get me, I extricated myself and ran back uphill to Mike, who was trying to keep Pumpkin from following Heather down. I dropped the ball in the process, but Heather was able to get it. No harm, no foul, right? I might have gotten away with it if it only happened once. Unfortunately, no.

Heather shows the dogs where the ball flew over embankment.

Charlie was with us for the next incident. He drove out to visit on a Sunday, and we took him for a walk on a different branch of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. I was leading the pack on the way back to the car when I caught a fresh scent of fox or weasel and took off on a small game trail that ran under some barbed-wire fencing and Posted signs. This sliver of a trail led to a much wider one some 20 feet below, which then wound further into farmers’ fields and ultimately toward the busy highway beyond them. Heather and Charlie kept calling me to return, but I ignored them, put my nose down to the ground and scurried another few yards in the opposite direction. At one point I bounded toward the highway, but soon reversed course and headed steadily back to the main trail, where Mike stood waiting at my original point of egress. This time Heather ordered Mike to keep me leashed up for the rest of our walk.

Wanted: Chloë’s missing ball

But did anybody learn anything from this? Apparently not, because on the following day, in between the heavy rains and hailstones I endured, I split again on yet another section of the Sno Valley Trail. (Heather likes this former railroad bed trail because it’s flat, and I like because it has lots of small critters lurking about.) This time I ran circles around a muddy field before returning to Mike and his waiting leash, again the prescribed punishment from Staff Sergeant Heather, who was amused by my recent performances. She was even less pleased the following day, when she and I were playing fetch on the back lawn, for both of us by far the most favorite activity on the Getaway agenda. She threw the ball, I retrieved it, and then I ran right past her and all the way down to the landscapers’ garage down the hill, ball in mouth – until a big dog named Coconut who lives there intercepted me and chased me back towards the Getaway house. Heather was made when she came to get me, and she was even more so when she saw the ball was no longer in my grip.

At least I’ve got another week out here at my Getaway to find that ball. Meanwhile, I figure I am on a leash for the duration of our time here, even when I’m inside the house. It’s like house arrest! And who knows how long it will last with Heather in charge? Might be forever, come to think of it.

Chloë Plays Finders Keepers

Many people park their cars on my street when they go to the park. It happens all the time, even though there’s plenty of free parking in the lots inside the park, which rarely fill up. As you can probably tell, I don’t like it.  The only vehicles I want on my street are UPS trucks. When those other cars unload dogs, I like it even less.  I don’t want them around. If I’m outside, resting in my peanut bed on my front walk,  I glare at these dogs defiantly, and sometimes even let out a threatening bark or growl. It is MY street, after all.

1-Chloe and Her Orange Ball-002

Chloë eyes her prize.

Two weeks ago, I got even with all those dogs. Some dumb mutt whose owner parked a car across the street in front of my friend Claire’s house left his dog’s ball behind on the gravel between the gutter and the sidewalk. Since the ball was orange, I saw it immediately, and Heather took me across the street and let me pick it up. I’ve barely taken it out of my mouth ever since.

Mike quickly put the kibosh on interior usage, correctly surmising that this bouncy orange ball was likely to careen into something breakable, and that if I had it in the house it would be found in only two locations: inside my gnawing jaw or at his feet next to my pleading eyes, demanding a game of fetch. So Mike hides it inside his pack when we come inside the house. I know where it is, but I can’t get at it until we go out for our afternoon walk for extended fetch. I am playing this game with renewed enthusiasm.

How much do I crave that ball in my mouth? One day Heather came home from work early but immediately plugged in her computer and told me to take a walk with only Mike. Normally Mike would have to drag me out of the house if Heather doesn’t come. This time, I could not have cared less: Mike had the orange ball, and all I wanted to do was fetch it, which I did for at least 45 minutes straight. Heather was almost done working by the time we got back,, for crying out loud.

Chuckit Whistler Ball

Chuckit! Whistler ball

The ball is an orange Chuckit! Whistler, and I heartily recommend everything about it whether or not they approach me for an endorsement deal. Yes, the ball whistles when it’s thrown, due to the four holes that open to an empty core inside a bumpy, rubbery surface. The noise is fun, but there are other things about this ball  that I like even better. I haven’t been able to break it (yet), and when I chew, it’s soft enough to compress  without a lot of effort and small enough to fit comfortably  in my mouth. In other words, maximum gnawability. I also love its bounciness and its orange color, which makes it easy for me to find when it ricochets onto the forest floor.

Heather felt guilty for not trying to find the  ball’s rightful owner, but there’s no way I would ever consider giving up this ball to some carpetbagging dog from some other neighborhood that I don’t even know. Finders keepers, losers weepers, I say. Isn’t that the Law of the Pack?

So leave me alone, OK? I’ve got important work to do.